A recent Netflix documentary titled The Social Dilemma interviews several engineers who initially helped build social media platforms, but who are now sounding the alarm on their creations. The film features prominent designers from Google, Facebook and Twitter, including the engineer who created the pervasive “like” button and the inventor of the “infinite scroll.” The…
From June 29 to July 2 this year, the American Astronomical Society held a virtual conference on satellite constellations’ impact on optical astronomy. The scientists were concerned that satellite deployment, particularly bright satellites in low-Earth orbit, will prevent us from collecting meaningful optical data from the stars. I grew up in Montreal and never realized…
In a recent column (“Anti-Vax Reversal?,” June 8), I ended with the hope that a vaccine for COVID-19 might be developed quickly. Scientists are working on many possible vaccines in an amazing time frame. Our government has partnered with multiple companies to make a vaccine available for Canadians, and the Americans have implemented “Operation Warp…
“Doubting Thomas,” that practical, no-nonsense disciple of Jesus, would fit well in our modern world’s philosophy that “seeing is believing.” Thomas would have nothing to do with fantastical stories of a risen Jesus. No, Thomas wanted empirical proof – the proof of his senses. He wanted to see the wound in Jesus’ side and touch the scars in his pierced hands.
Teachers lie. It happens more often than you’d think. We don’t want to do it. It’s just that telling the truth is hard. We lie for a few reasons. First, we may not know the complete story. Often, as an individual or a scientific community, we just don’t fully know how something works. It’s hard to teach half-truths, and so we massage the story to make it complete.
Intelligence itself is difficult to define. And there is often a gap between philosophers and engineers in how to understand artificial intelligence (AI). Philosophers distinguish between the concept of “weak” and “strong” AI. In the first case, the machines act as if they are intelligent; in the latter, they would be actually thinking and not just simulating the thinking, which includes the possibility of reflection (an activity philosophers refer to as a “conscience”).
The Coronavirus pandemic swiftly brought into focus our shared vulnerability and humanity on a global scale. We are lonely, confused and scared. Yet amidst these difficulties, we have come to recognize the blessing of digital technologies and how they can connect us during this time of social distancing. As for schools across the world, teleconferencing software has enabled me to continue my classes at Calvin University.
What happens internally when you hear the word pornography? For just a moment, pay attention to the feeling that rises up when you sit with that word. Statistically, for men – and for a growing proportion of women – the first feelings are guilt and shame. But perhaps you feel disgust, sadness, hurt or defeat – all depending on the way you’ve been impacted by porn. Sitting with these feelings helps us break the temptation to think that the problem of porn is out there somewhere in the world.
In the Bulkley Valley, not many farmers can say that their cows milk themselves. But in the case of Dan, Rudy and Nathan Vandenberg, their cows do just that. This past September, the farm’s milking system switched to artificial intelligence (AI), becoming the first in northern B.C. Before, all milking was done in-person, a time-consuming activity that meant the cows had to be rounded up and herded to the barn before they could be milked. As Dan Vandenberg says, under this system, the farmers “pretty much lived there.” That is no longer the case.
Ironically, the week that COVID-19 shut the door to in-person classes at Calvin University, our capstone computer science course was scheduled to discuss the importance of embodied community. One of the points that we were scheduled to explore is how electronic communications should not be preferable to embodied community. However, as we have seen with COVID-19, when that is not possible, digital communications are a blessing. Our current situation brought an unexpected “experiential learning” opportunity to engage this topic.
This summer, many teens decided – or, in some cases, had their parents decide for them – to put down their phones for a week and head to different cities across the country to participate in SERVE where they helped the homeless, the hungry and anyone else who needed a hand.
Young and perhaps foolish, we were trying to figure out the source of a famous quotation from Shakespeare while drinking a few beers at Pat-‘n’-Steve’s house. I disremember which quotation, but it may have been “They do not love that do not show their love.”